Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I like Who What Wear, and I've been checking it long enough to know they pull out some ridiculous, beyond-trendy recommendations (one-piece neon jump-suit with chest ruffles? Mary Kate and Ashley obsession?) But this collage of jeweled crowns has to be my fave bad idea in a while. Not headbands, of which I am a fan, but crowns. Apparently this means a stripe of spangles strapped around the whole head, over the hair a la cheap '70s hippie costume. I'm not sure if it's more Studio 54 or Sanrio, but I am sure that as much as I like a lazy, unwashed hair solution and sparkles, I won't be who-what-wearing it any time soon.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

When I saw Obama speak in Seattle a couple months ago, I was moved by the collective energy of 21,000 people sitting next to me. His words were convincing but predictable, genuine but rehearsed through repeated presentations of the same words on stages across America. Certainly, it was not the same old politics of previous elections; but it was most likely the same old speech he'd given over the last few months.

We expect our politicians to reiterate certain predictable ideologies; we know when to clap and cheer and stand. We want change, but not to the extent that we'd put our faith in a presidential hopefull who shocked or surprised us too much. Obama's words are good, but they are good within very strict confines of US democracy.

Obama's recent Philadelphia speech on race and politics is something new -- not so much in the ideas, which have of course been discussed before in greater detail, but because I've never heard a person of such influence and authority articulate with such clarity these greater struggles and social dynamics.

I think the restrictions of what we expect from political speeches help keep Obama's message here accessible and intelligent, without diluting or sterilizing the issues beyond recognition. It is precision, not sugar-coating. We want a realitively quick speech (37 minutes is a lot of listening even for me), we want some good sound bites, and we want our own opinions validated. We want to understand what he's saying even if we're distracted checking our email and folding laundry at the same time. We want to feel compelled, without feeling uncomfortably angry at our culture. Many people in many positions -- professors, preachers, educational administrators, students -- could rant about race in America for hours. But no one wants to hear that. Obama meets the demands of a fickle contemporary audience, while addressing race in America with outstanding authority and gravity.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Vancouver is excellent. I was quite tired of work by the end of last week, and I think the fancy times up here with Brian this weekend, plus the work-related medium-fancy times of the conference the next couple days will be a perfect little break.

Lots of walking around and eating out with Brian. A very disjointed drive up Saturday (stops for UPS, coffee, gas, bagels, lunch with Caitie, waiting at the boarder), then we explored a little, then had excellent tasty dinner + drinks at some bistro between on the cusp of the sketchy neighborhood.

Sunday: breakfast of perfectly almost-over-toasted French toast, then a shoe-buying expedition, then the newly-remodeled aquarium and a drive through the park.

It was chilly, but stayed dry until we found the craft commune of Granville Island -- drizzly is not good for tourism. We forced ourselves to walk through the little village of arts and nicknacks until early dinner. Excellent bread and Canadian peach cider, good crab cake to start, but some kind of weird bits in one of my scallops that I may never get over. If this city has ruined scallops for me, I firmly take back my "Vancouver is excellent."

Today, Pookie left at 8ish, so I got ready for a big day of no plans. Realized I left accidentally sent my umbrella home in the car, so went out and bought a new (and better) one at some drug store. Certainly, in Canada I've heard more sales rep and cashier people with clear recently-immigrated accents than I've ever heard ever in the states.

Tried shopping, but nothing peaked my interest until ... Zara. What a mecca! Everything beautiful! How have I spent years shopping and never seen this place? Everything gorgeous but reasonably priced, trendy but not cheapo, good quality, decent fit. Had to visit the fitting room twice to try everything on. And, wonderfully, went out today thinking of a trench coat, and came back with a perfect one. Love a belted waist and a big collar. Somehow, though, managed moderation and only bought three things: that coat, dark work pants, and a little black casual dress. Has bows at the waist. Possibly I'll be drawn back in for some shoes before I leave -- there were some amazing ones, if only they have my size ...

The Vancouver Art Gallery coat check lady was one of the rudest service people I've ever encountered, and we barely spoke. I can only guess she was jealous of my fabulous hair. The building is lovely -- very nice to see how a piece of classical architecture fits seamlessly in a very modern-architecture city. Some video installation, some tree stuff, much pictorialism that I looked through diligently without being moved. Was worth $15 because I had nothing better to do and it could be considered a donation toward Art.

Finally it was time for some work-related mingling. Flatironed my hair, then went cashless to the foyer on the third floor, where I clinged to the first group of approachable ladies I saw, until I heard the bar was accepting debit cards. Got me a G+T, then clumped with UW advisers till someone suggested we head to the hotel bar. Had another couple rounds and talked about college-related stuff there till someone suggested we go to bed. Now here I am. Typing way past my bedtime.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Newly-engaged Melissa sent a link to an event lodge on the water (coincidentally very near Brian's parents' Suquamish home), and after spinning around in the 360-degree "tours" for a minute, I looked up the rates.

$3,495.00 for a Saturday evening is a lot of cash, but $4 "linen charge" per place setting? $.75 per chair for the ceremony? $75 for Cake Table Set-up and Cutlery? I thought chairs and napkins were natural occurrences at event locations, like leaves in the forest or magazines in waiting rooms. Plus dress, hair, makeup, shoes, manicure, bowties, cufflinks, flowers, placecards, invitations, photos, music, bar, champagne flutes (or Otter Pops, if you're our acquaintances), honeymoon, transportation, days off work, rings, gym membership to stay dress-sized, hair color and facial serums to hide signs of aging caused by wedding-planning stress ... Nate thinks he had a rough time planning and pulling off the flower-petals-on-the-beach proposal. I hope they set a date for next spring, so they have plenty of planning time and aren't too stressed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Success at Vain yesterday!

In the excitement of walking downtown during the middle of the work day, I passed a lot full of trailers that apparently belong to a Jennifer Aniston movie being filmed at the Market. According to the Seattle Times, the movie's "about a self-help guru who comes to Seattle for a workshop and meets a florist played by Aniston." Oooh. Well. I'm sure her hair will look nice.

Maybe as nice as mine!

Melissa's recommendation for Jennifer C at Vain was excellent. The lady was friendly and far less fake than the haircolors going on at that place (apparently spring is the time for neon for Seattle's hipsters). She asked plenty of questions so there was no confusion over what I wanted. Despite Melissa's horror stories of waiting forever multiple times a the salon, my appointment started right on time.

My only real issue is a reoccurring one: how much to tip. If I'm already paying $160 for two hours of (albeit very good) service, and I'm fairly confidant most of that money is going to the stylist, do I really need to tip 20%? I hope not, because I never do. But even 10% boosts my bill almost $20! By the time I'm signing for the total, I could have funded another 6 years of bottle-black dye from Bartells. But every other moment except this, I'm glad I got past that flat black curtain of boring.

Uff. Such a tough life.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The white light of 7am and the spray of pastel blossoms across the south side of the street made this morning look like snow. Fortunately, temperatures were warmer, and I was comfortably warm as I walked up the block to miss my second bus of the morning.

After watching the 6:30 #31 race by at 6:27, I decided to screw my second-to-last spinning class of the quarter (OK because I'm taking it again in Spring) and got ready at home. It's weird to put on makeup alone in a bathroom now -- on weekends and my rare skipped workout day, I vaguely miss my weekday mornings surrounded by gym ladies. And of course the bright fluorescence and big mirrors of the IMA; it's hard to tell what color lipstick I'm putting on in our windowless bathroom with uneven lighting and smudgy mirrors.

Getting a haircut and color today! Very excited to do something darker. These blond splotches are not me. Hopefully Melissa's recommendation of Jennifer Cassidy at Vain will pay off -- her cut turned out well, but she had no experience with her doing color.

It's not 7:48. If I leave now, I may actually make this bus.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Project Runway

Another season is over. The final runway shows seem less climactic each time, and I'm less smitten with the designers and their designs.

Rami's collection: Beautiful. Mature. Love the dress with the skirt woven into the bodice. Not sure about his colors, but I could see wearing some things here.

Most of the designers on the show come up with some generic narrative, but he introduces this collection saying it celebrates women, and I can actually see that. I want him to win. But this is TV, and Christian is obviously everyone's favorite.

When I look over the collections now, I actually am more torn between Christian and Rami -- on this 15" monitor instead of the 60" TV, the nice details of Rami's are lost, and the excess of Christian's is subdued, to his benefit.

Jillian's collection: I didn’t really like Jillian as a TV personality, but I still expected something better than this. It looks very amateur. What’s attractive is not original, what’s original is not attractive. Disjointed. She clearly will not win. I would much rather have seen Chris here.

Christian's collection: Christian and his designs make me think of Austin Scarlett, the super-flamboyant designer I loved the first time around, and who I thought got kicked off too soon. So why don't I like Christian the most now?

Maybe too fierce? Would be interesting to see the martketable version – I’m not sure if the “wow” here is because it’s all bigger than everyone else's work, or because it’s actually interesting.

The beige and brown ruffle/tube dress looks like a pastry.

In the end, I think he pulls this all off as a runway show – and pulling off something almost laughable is impressive – but I’m not sure it translates into something I'd like to wear.